Following graduation, he was commissioned an Ensign in the USNR, served clinical research clerkships, and conducted psychophysiological research at the Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Groton, CT with Benjamin Weybrew. He studied English literature at Oxford University where he learned to appreciate Chaucer's description of the Oxford (student) clerk who was ready to "gladly learn and gladly teach." He attended the University of Delaware in Newark, DE on NASA and teaching fellowships, earning master and doctorate degrees in Psychology. Under the direction of Marvin Zuckerman, his dissertation dealt with psychophysiological habituation to violence. After commissioning through Army ROTC, he came to San Antonio to teach drug and alcohol education at the Medical Field Service School as a uniformed psychologist and later as technical director for the Health Care Studies and Clinical Investigation Activity at Fort Sam Houston. He earned a master's degree in English from St. Mary's University and a master in public health from the University of Texas School of Public Health. He spent his career teaching and conducting applied research for the military.
He mentored and taught for the Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration influencing hundreds of military officers of whom many went on to seek doctorates. In his work as a faculty research fellow for the Baylor Oral History Institute, he documented the history and contributions of the Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration to federal healthcare.
A health psychologist, he was active in the leadership of the Division of Military Psychology of the American Psychological Association, serving three tours on the Council of Representatives and over 30 years in APA leadership positions. An active scholar, he was an energetic writer on military psychology, occupational health, operational stress, terrorism, patient attitudes, professional retention factors, psychological support, and curriculum outcomes. He served as adjunct editor for Military Psychology, and on the editorial review board of numerous journals. In 2000 after 30 years, he retired as a Colonel from the Army Reserves.
He organized many operational stress workshops and programs around the world for the military and NATO during the 1980s and 90s. Martin Seligman, the developer of Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, presented at a 1993 NATO workshop. Seligman's interest in the military, stress, and resiliency techniques continued into the 21st century. Multiple discussions with Seligman about the applicability of positive psychology principles to military training, operations, resiliency, and performance evolved into the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. Bringing awareness of the lessons learned from combat and operational stressors, cohesion, realistic training, and developing appropriate resiliency techniques for the armed forces was a life long passion (Mental Valor).
His scholarship contributed significantly to documenting the evolution of the major contributions of psychology to national security and to defining the field of military psychology. His edited works included the Handbook of Military Psychology, Psychology in the Service of National Security, Military Cohesion, U. S. Army-Baylor University Health Care Administration 50 Year History, the military psychology section of the Encyclopedia of Psychology, APA Dictionary of Psychology, numerous conference and stress workshop proceedings, among his 600 plus papers, presentations, and reports. When discussing the marketing of the Handbook of Military Psychology with the Wiley publishers in Chichester, UK, Dr. Mangelsdorff recommended translating the book into a Chinese version; it took 13 years, and became available in 2004 (consider the People's Liberation Army, the world's largest armed force with a total strength of 2.5 million potential readers). He was a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Sigma Xi, and Psi Chi. He won a Fulbright scholarship in 2003 to study demographics in Germany. One of his personal goals as a Fulbright scholar was to walk in the footsteps of his ancestors around Berlin and its suburbs; he accomplished that objective.
Dr. Mangelsdorff taught as an adjunct instructor at San Antonio College, adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health, adjunct professor at Texas A&M University, consultant to the VA, adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, adjunct professor of International Relations at St. Mary's University, and adjunct professor in the Physician Assistant Department of the UTHSCSA School of Allied Health. He served as an adviser to the Target 90 Goals for San Antonio, co-chairperson of the disaster mental health response committee of the San Antonio American Red Cross, board member of the 24th Street Theatre Experiment, the Alamo Theatre Arts Council (ATAC) board of directors, and ATAC judge for local theater productions. He chaired the NATO Research Study Group on Psychological Support, represented the United States as a consultant to the embassy of Suriname, chaired United States research groups for NATO and The Technical Cooperation Program, and served as program director of the German-American Officer Exchange Program. He served as Dartmouth alumni class of 1967 secretary writing columns and maintaining a class web page.
His professional recognition included: Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the South and Southwest, American Psychological Association Presidential Citation, Secretary of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service (two awards), Decoration for Meritorious Civilian Service (two awards), Federal Executive Association Employee of the Year, Legion of Merit, Order of Military Medical Merit, numerous Army-Baylor Health Care Administration Faculty Researcher of the Year educator of the year, and faculty service awards. He has been recognized twice as educator of the year. The faculty research award is named in his honor. In the Society for Military Psychology, American Psychological Association, he received the John C. Flanagan Lifetime Achievements in Military Psychology award.
His applied research includes scholarship on community disaster preparedness, operational stress and psychological support, military psychology,patient attitudes, and competency-based education. In spring of 2001, he developed a survey instrument to assess hospital preparedness for chemical and biological threats; it was administered to hospitals and healthcare systems in San Antonio providing baseline information about healthcare facilities and community preparedness BEFORE the 9/11 disaster. In October, 2001, the hospital preparedness surveywas made available to the American Hospital Association which pushed it out to over 5,000 healthcare facilities in North America. Professor Mangelsdorff regularly incorporates lessons learned, community preparedness, and group dynamics in his graduate classes with military officers in the Army-Baylor University MHA program. His poster “Classroom Scenarios for Community Disaster Preparedness, Group Dynamics, and Competency Development” presented in April, 2016 at the 7th Annual Frontiers of Translational Science Research Day conference at Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, TX, was the Winner for Professor Poster presentations.
His philanthropic interests included endowing multi-disciplinary professorships continuing his research and teaching in homeland defense and national security at Dartmouth College (Psychology and Brain Sciences), St. Mary's University (International Relations), University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, School of Medicine (Center for Public Health Preparedness and Biomedical Research), University of Delaware (Disaster Research Center), University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, School of Allied Health Sciences (Physician Assistant program), University of Texas School of Public Health at San Antonio, University of the Incarnate Word, Baylor University, and Rutgers University. The endowed professorships represent a legacy of investing in multidisciplinary scholarship, higher education, national security, and homeland defense.
With privilege, comes responsibility. Dr. M. felt privileged to have received superb educational experiences and opportunities such as the faculty Fulbright faculty scholarship; he felt a responsibility for serving his nation and community. Ulysses (in Tennyson’s poem) notes his determination “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” Among his quests was a continual search for great beers. He was blessed watching his legacy (his graduate and undergraduate students) go on to be successful leaders in the armed services in the United States and abroad. His pride of felines provided faithful companionship, though they routinely failed to remember the phone numbers of callers. His personal journey included seeking continual opportunities for growth and development, adapting to changes, and resetting his azimuth. Dr. M's charge to his graduate students (mostly military officers): serve proudly; be a good steward of your blessings; return more than you receive. Former students and colleagues are invited to come celebrate his life after a memorial service to be conducted at the Gift chapel at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio by Chaplain Doug Swift. Bring a bottle of Zeller Schwarze Katz. TGIF!
"gladly learn and gladly teach"